Meet the Team

Picture of Ashley Ringer McDonald

Ashley Ringer McDonald is an associate professor of chemistry at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She received her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College and her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on using multiscale modeling to study molecular interactions in complex chemical contexts. She is an Associate of the Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI) and a member of the MERCURY Consortium. She also leads Psi4Education, the education and outreach program of the quantum chemistry software package Psi4.

In addition to her interests in chemistry and computing, Dr. McDonald is an avid baker and home chef. You can learn more about her cooking by follwing her on Instagram @quantumgirlcooks.

Current Group Members

Picture of Alia Lescoulie

Alia Lescoulie is a second year biochemistry major, currently working on a molecular dynamics project using the MDAnalysis library of python. She has also worked with Dr. Sapper on a project using QSAR modeling and the keras library to predict monomer pair reactivity with quantum chemical properties.

Max Buskirk is a second year Chemistry and Physics major, working on finding the transition state of a strained unimolecular organic reaction. His long-term goal is to do research in physical chemistry, materials science, or some subfield of physics.

Former Group Members

Jaron Deacon graduated in 2019. He is working in the coatings industry in Texas.

Timothy Moreno is a graduate student in the 4+1 program in Biomedical Engineering at Cal Poly. An air force veteran, he is also the Chief of Training at Vandenburg Airforce Base in central California.

Rebecca Altman graduated in 2016. She is currently a graduate student in physical chemistry at the University of Oregon.

John Detlefs graduate in 2016. He works in the scienfitic software industry with Anaconda in Austin, Texas.

Josh Lehrer graduated in 2015. He is a Research Technician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts.

William Pedrotti graduated in 2015. He is an HPLC Technical Consultant for Phenomenex in southern California.

Emma Pearsall Jenkins graduated in 2015. She works for Bio-Rad Laboratories as a Lead Chemist in the Food Sciences Sub-Group.

Zach Petrek graduated in 2015. He is a graduate student at the University of California Merced.

Raymond Jin graduated in 2014. He went to grad school at the University of Washington at Seattle.

Connor Fourt graduated in 2014. He is a Founder at RepairTech Solutions, a startup that makes automatic computer repair software.